Finding and keeping the right employees can be a challenge in any industry, but without fail, it’s the restaurant industry that leads in employee turnover and retention every year. Some of it’s due to the median age range being between 16-24 (which is the primary age of students that hold temporary jobs) and other parts of it is due to restaurateurs lack of employee retention investments.
With one of the biggest challenges being to find the right employees and the other making sure they stick around, let’s roll into tactics on how you can get a leg up on sourcing the right employees and keeping them happy.
1. Recruiting Online
Looking for new recruits is easy with the help of online job boards, social media, and free listings on sites such as Craigslist. Not only can you source for the right type of employee in your listings, you can also review recruits online resumes and LinkedIn accounts to learn more about them before you even begin engaging.
2. Look For Unconventional Talent
Outside of the 16-24 year old workers, what other segments could you be recruiting? Baby boomers are a great start. This rather large generation is set to retire in the coming years and they’re not the type to sit and twiddle their thumbs. This is a great generation to market to – they’re dedication and experience could surprise you. There are also stay-at-home moms that are returning to the workforce. They may not have worked ‘traditionally’ over the past few years, but their organizational and corralling skills are off the charts!
3. Interviewing Smarts
You should be devoting time to improving internal communication, as well as, making sure new recruits are a cultural fit. Listen carefully – do you get the vibe you want and that will fit with your current employees? Do they talk about team more or working alone more? Make sure to look for cues that will fit the position… if you can’t sit through a conversation with them, why would you have them serving your customers? If you don’t have your own list of interview questions, search the Internet for questions to ask – there’s a slew of information out there.
P.S. Please, please, please follow-up with references. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
4. Test Them Before They Come In
Testing employees may sound like something that only corporate businesses do, but a lot of restaurants and fast-casual establishments have found a lot of luck with weeding out the bad candidates and narrowing down to the perfect fit. Companies like Wonderlic and Merchants are great for analyzing personality, as well as, sniffing out bad behavior like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, hostility, violence, lying, and employee theft in the workplace. The total cost for these tests is relatively low, especially when it comes to the potential costs of hiring the wrong employee.
5. Existing Employees Are Your In House Stars
And they deserve to know they are stars. If you haven’t invested time in getting to know who your employees are outside of work, why should they care about you or your business? Networking to improve your business, should always start in-house… make sure your employees know you care about them.
6. Give Them The Tools They Need
Employees can only be as successful as the tools they’re given to improve what they do. If there are tools to help them do their job better, it may be worth the investment. Whether it be training, technology, or new product, investing in job improvement is always a win-win.
P.S. If you’re worried about paying for tools just to have the employee turn around and leave, don’t. If they want to leave, they will, but what you’re establishing is a work environment that builds confidence and trust in your employees. You’re showing them that you’re willing to pay to make them better… and that could quite possible be one of the best places to work for.
7. Recognize The Rockstars
It’s one thing to tell an employee that they’re doing a good job, but it’s another thing to tell everyone that they’re doing a great job. Let the entire team know who deserves the kudos – whether it be on a corkboard or posted right above the time clock. We all love to be recognized for our efforts, and when we see someone else winning at that, it makes us want to push ourselves to be seen as the rockstar too.
8. Community Is Everything
If you’re working on communicating better with your employees, you should also work on creating better communication between the entire team. Whether it be a communal lunch before opening or a quick meeting after closing, making sure everyone is on the same track and understood is essential in building internal community. Make sure to bring up quick wins – a customer satisfaction comment, a new menu item comment, an efficiency comment, etc.